Personal Growth in Freelancing

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. In the case of freelancing, yes, this saying applies. Your contacts are your most valuable assets aside from your skill. You will need people to give you business, whether it is a neighbor, your parents, classmates, etc.

Questions when considering freelance work via referrals:
1. Do you know anyone inside a company where you can get the latest scoop on what’s the current industry trend?
2. Do you know 20 people who can recommend you?
3. Do you know 10 people who are interested in freelance services?
4. Are you willing to invest on more than 20 hours on sales, marketing and networking?
5. Are you familiar with decision-makers in companies as your list of potential clients?

Though most successful freelancers make a lot of money compared to their employed counterparts, money isn’t stable in the freelancing world. When you decide to become a freelancer, you are giving up a steady paycheck. Work and money will be scare, and you will be at the mercy of clients who pay after 30 days.

When you start working as a freelancer, your contracts will always vary. Some may run from 3 to 6 months, sometimes shorter. Work will be cyclic --- one month you’re overworked while you’re bored the next. Plus, a freelancer’s taxes can become complicated and are quite high. You constantly need to market your skills and expertise in order to find work. Nothing is definite.

Freelancing is rewarding both professionally and financially. There is never a dull moment with freelancing, and if there were, it only means that you’re not putting yourself out there more. You get to decide what projects appeal to you; you get to run the show!

Since freelancing is a high-risk endeavor, this lifestyle is not for everyone. It’s better to talk to present and former freelancers and investigate what and why works for them in the freelancing game. And since this is a complete transformation, make sure to discuss it with your partner as it will greatly affect your finances. There is a need to be constantly motivated and self-sufficient. Perfectionism is mandatory if your skills are being outsourced. You also need to be flexible enough to cater to the whims of your client. You also need to develop the patience and tenacity to troubleshoot equipment, software, etc. As a freelancer, access to help desk staff and network admins will be nominal. Basically, you would have to tackle them on your own, learn it and eventually apply it. Being a freelancer means also getting your hands dirty; after all, you are a one-man show.

The freelancing lifestyle was never like a walk in the park. It entails a lot of sleepless nights and stress. Coffee will become your best friend. Somehow, going fulltime will consume your finances as well. It’s better to set aside money when the going gets tough as you make your transition gradually.

Attitude is everything in freelancing. If you take every problem with a grain of salt, correct, improve then move on --- life will be less stressful and more fulfilling. After all you’re working for yourself now.
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